A Monte Carlo rally that did not promise to be exciting at the start, so much the domination of Sébastien Ogier last year promised a race whose fate was already written. And yet it was a thrilling race, as always in Monte Carlo, that kept us going.
The most interesting question marks are above all the competitiveness of the new Hyundai I20s believed to have made great progress since the previous one and the performance of young French people: Eric Camilli integrated into Team Ford of Malcom Wilson and Stéphane Lefebvre in the official team Citroën.
The first 2 ES
They represent a total of 41.63km: 21.25km for Entrevaux – Val de Chalvagne – Rouaine ES1 and 20.38km for Barles – Seyne ES2. They are covered at night and are dry with patches of humidity for the first but with 6 km of snow for the second special in the descent of Col de Fanget, it has never been taken in this direction in Monte Carlo. The temperature is 1 ° C.
The order of departures is as follows:
1. Ogier, 2. Latvala, 3. Mikkelsen, 4. Ostberg, 5. Meeke, 6. Neuville, 7. Sordo, 8. Paddon, 9. Tänak, 10. H. Kubica, 11. Lefebvre, 12. Bouffier, 13. Bertelli, 14. Camilli
When it comes to tires, everyone follows Michelin’s recommendations and uses 4 Super Soft (SS5) and takes 2 PA4 CL studded snow spare wheels, except Paydon who has chosen non-studded snow as a backup.
The Special Stage of Entrevaux – Rouaine, 21.25km. which opens the 2016 season with a climb of 1100 meters to Col de Laval
After starting on the narrow roads bordered by the rock face, the road widens after the village of Le Champ and a short descent to 6.3 km which involves the risk of ice. The ascent and descent of the pass is on rolling roads, but the road narrows and becomes winding near the finish.
This special marked the spirits last year with the sensational return of Sébastien Loeb at the wheel, who won the special with 30 seconds ahead of Sébastien OGIER!
Ogier sets off first and with a time of 12m21.9s declares that he has started carefully, the road is very slippery in places. Follows Latvala 11.5s slower and Mikkelsen 9.4s slower than Ogier. Otsberg, who has changed car and co-driver, is at 18.5s. Mass seems to have been said when Chris Meeke arrives with a time of only 4.1s from Ogier while he spun in a pin which made him lose 6s.
Neuville concedes 11.5s on Ogier, he was disturbed by mud on his windshield and reported that the road is deteriorating and is more and more slippery as the competitors pass.
Stéphane LEFEBVRE hit him with a rock at the left rear after 5km of the special and thought he had a puncture, but he noticed on arrival that the car was intact.
Still rated French drivers, Bryan BOUFFIER, former winner who almost won in 2014, is very far behind at 49.5s.
12th time Eric CAMILLI reports a downshift problem.
In WRC2, EVANS, TEMPESTINI and SUAREZ punctured while Yoan BONATO reported a bad choice of tires (snow) and hoped that they would save him time in the next special stage. MAURIN, who claims to have driven carefully, takes the lead in the provisional classification.
Ranking after SS1 in WRC:
1.Ogier 12m21.9s, 2.Meeke + 4.1s, 3.Mikkelsen + 9.4s, 4.Latvala + 11.2s, 5.Neuville + 11.7s
1.Maurin 13m27.9s, 2.Kremer + 3.6s, 3.Gilbert + 9.4s, 4.Giordano + 23.3s, 5.Suarez + 29.1s.
Special Event N ° 2:
Barles – Seyne, 20.38km. It was used in 1983 when the Monte Carlo climbed the 1459 meters of the Col de Fanget but has never been used in this direction. After cutting through the spectacular Gorges de Barles, there is snow and ice on the ascent and descent which features a series of hairpin bends.
The special includes 4 km of ice near the end, the Michelin drivers will compete with 2 studded snow tires except for Hayden Paddon who tried the bet not to take a second spare wheel.
At the finish, Ogier found the rally complicated and felt that he had made the right choice of tires for the special. Latvala lost more than 20s following a collision with a rock in an area covered with ice. 3rd volkswagen driver, Mikkelsen is only 3.7 seconds from Ogier.
Otsberg in his turn arrives 10.3s behind Ogier, he says he has trouble finding the rhythm but having had fun he used the handbrake a lot and is satisfied with the behavior of his Ford Fiesta WRC.
Thunderbolt, Chris MEEKE set a time 11 seconds faster than Ogier, he takes the lead of the rally, without his spinning in the 1 he would have even won the two specials of this first loop !!!
None of the following competitors will be able to beat MEEKE’s or OGIER’s time, SORDO signals not to feel the car, and PAYDON sans nails wins their bet by setting the best time for the Hyundai drivers.
KUBICA thinks he has a power loss problem on his car
In WRC2 Evans signed a terrible scratch time 26 seconds faster than the second and it could have been even better if he had not been slowed down at the end by Quentin GIORDANO who caught up did not leave him doubled.
Rankings after SS2 in WRC:
1.Meeke 25: 32.1s, 2.Ogier + 6.9s, 3.Mikkelsen + 20.0s, 4.Neuville + 31.4s, 5.Paddon + 34.9s
and in WRC2:
1.Gilbert 27m50.1s, 2.Maurin + 9.8s, 3.Kremer + 23.3s, 4.Evans + 41.7s, 5.Giordano + 46.2s.
The most interesting videos:
Very nice video of MediaMotor’s of more than 26 minutes with to start one of the passages of Titi poizot on a small C2 R2 which delighted the public all the rally then of course on the big official WRCs. An error from Paydon at 2:30 and Suarez at 4:15
A video of Lumini 13 which begins with the road exits of Latvala (Volkswagen Polo WRC) Suarez (Peugeot 206 T16 R5) Kremer (Skoda R5), BAFFOUN Philippe (Clio R3) then Suarez a second time visibly familiar with the fact and even François Delecour however very reliable in general. The cameraman obviously had a flair for positioning himself in tricky places like this left right without snow but obviously very slippery and bordered by deep ditches. Note the spectators who managed to make the pole mown by Kremer stand, allowing the Special to take place normally.
A whole series of passages in a row on the dry roads of the Nice hinterland, which said that it was not spectacular on the asphalt a WRC.
A lucky exit from the road for Stéphane LEFEBVRE who could well have stopped his race there and ultimately did not even waste time in this outing !!!